National Association of State Retirement Administrators


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that state and local governments lost an estimated 981,000 jobs in April 2020, a loss equivalent to approximately five percent of their February 2020 total, and with over 80 percent of the losses affecting local governments. April 2020 provided the first employment data that reflects the economic response to the pandemic. Revisions to prior months' data eliminated 53,000 state and local government jobs to the running total.

The BLS identifies approximately 18.9 million employees of state and local government as of April 2020. Local governments, which include most school districts, account for approximately three-quarters of total state and local employment, with state governments accounting for approximately one-quarter of the total. Overall, state and local employment accounts for approximately 14 percent of the nation's workforce.

The private sector lost an estimated 19.5 million jobs in April 2020.

The charts below compare the relative changes in combined state and local government and private sector employment since 2007.

Monthly changes in state and local government
and private sector employment, 2007-2020

Monthly changes in state and local government employment, 2007-2020

Compiled by NASRA based on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data is sourced from the BLS Current Employment Statistics program, which is a monthly survey of households, businesses, and governments measuring employment, hours, and earnings estimates. The CES survey reference period is the pay period that includes the 12th day of the month. Data are published on a preliminary basis and revised twice before being finalized. 

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